COVID-19 Update - Reduction in expenditure announced

Racing Victoria (RV) has today announced a series of measures aimed at reducing expenditure to further protect the Victorian racing industry, which supports the equivalent of 25,000 full-time jobs, during the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Racing and training currently continues in Victoria under strict biosecurity protocols aimed at protecting the health and wellbeing of industry staff, participants and the wider community, while ensuring that the welfare of racehorses is not compromised.

As a result of the pandemic, the nation is now facing an economic crisis that has seen widespread job losses and required those businesses and industries that remain to review their operations and make sacrifices in the interests of their long-term viability.

Having considered the current economic climate, the expected impact on industry revenues in the short to medium term and the need to prepare Victorian racing for the implications of any shutdown if that is to occur, the RV Board has endorsed and today enacted the following measures:

Prizemoney

  • effective from Monday, 6 April, RV’s contribution to the prizemoney for all Victorian flat and jumps races will be reduced until further notice as follows:
    • Metropolitan – a 20% reduction in prizemoney contribution per race; and
    • Country – a 10% reduction in prizemoney contribution per race provided that no TAB race is conducted for less than $20,000.

  • prizemoney contributions to individual races by Racing Clubs and sales companies, which predominantly occurs during the Spring Racing Carnival and Festival of Racing, will be at the discretion of the Racing Clubs and sales companies at the appropriate time

  • effective from Monday, 6 April, the following changes will occur to the VOBIS program [incorporating Super VOBIS, VOBIS Gold and VOBIS Sires] noting that bonuses and VOBIS Sires races are partly funded by nomination fees already paid by owners and breeders:
    • Metropolitan Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold bonuses – reduced by 15%
    • Country Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold bonuses – reduced by 7.5%
    • The Showdown [2YO VOBIS Sires at Caulfield on 18 April] reduced from $1 million to $905,000
    • VOBIS Gold Guineas [3YO VOBIS Sires at Caulfield on 18 April] reduced from $500,000 to $452,500
    • prizemoney for the VOBIS Gold premier races, excluding The Showdown and VOBIS Gold Guineas, reduced by 20% [metropolitan] and 10% [country]

RV Staff

  • effective from Wednesday, 1 April until further notice, more than 40% of RV’s permanent staff will be temporarily stood down or be required to work reduced hours;

  • the Board and Executive Team who have been leading RV’s response to the pandemic have all agreed to a voluntary reduction in their remuneration of 50% and 20% respectively;

  • those staff stood down and/or working reduced hours are encouraged to take accrued entitlements via annual leave, long service leave and/or time owing in lieu; and

  • to assist those with minimal entitlements, RV has introduced COVID-19 Assistance Leave which will offer up to 20 days of annual leave in advance.

Racing Victoria (RV) Chairman, Brian Kruger, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had an incredible impact on the world as we know it, affecting livelihoods and our way of life. Racing is not immune to that and thus we have had to make some incredibly tough decisions today around our workforce and prizemoney which fuels participation in our industry.

“These are not decisions that we have taken lightly, however the impacts of the past fortnight and the nation’s rapidly evolving economic crisis means that we must act now to help soften the blow for Victorian racing.

“It has become clear that this pandemic and the associated economic crisis will have a long-term impact on our industry if we don’t seek to mitigate the impact now.

“It is critical for the long-term viability of the industry that we reduce our expenditure to help compensate for the short to medium term reduction we will have in our revenues. Equally, this will ensure that we are in the best position to support the industry if a shutdown occurs and to subsequently lead the rebuild of Victorian racing.

“Over the past fortnight we have ceased all non-essential expenditure at RV and today we are taking that a step further by announcing temporary reductions to our workforce and prizemoney payments to help the industry best navigate these unprecedented times.

“In doing so, we note that a number of our Racing Clubs have already made the tough decisions to temporarily stand down much of their workforce and to reduce their operations which is unfortunately necessary in these uncertain times.

“Whilst the industry has wisely built an Industry Sustainability Fund over the past five years, it is prudent at this time that sufficient funds remain available to assist the industry should we face a shutdown at any time and then need to rebuild our sport thereafter.

“It has taken an incredible team effort by all within the industry to ensure the safe continuation of racing and training in Victoria and I’m proud and extremely grateful for the work undertaken by our team at RV, led by our CEO Giles Thompson, to help realise this.

“That is why it has been an incredibly tough and emotional day for our management as they have informed over 40% of our permanent staff, those who predominantly work out of our head office, that they will be temporarily stood down or asked to work reduced hours.

“The health and welfare of all our staff is incredibly important and we will ensure that those impacted today will continue to receive our full support with services available to them 24/7 and the introduction of a new program of COVID-19 Assistance Leave.

“Those stood down remain RV employees and it is our intention to re-activate them at the time where it is deemed appropriate and necessary to power-up the industry and recommence particular duties and projects.

“In making this announcement, I want to take the opportunity to thank everyone within the industry for their efforts in adhering to both the Government directives and our industry protocols and I trust all will in time understand the need for the actions taken today.

“In closing, I also want to make it clear that we will continue to review the financial health of the industry on an ongoing basis and if necessary make further adjustments to support the long-term viability of Victorian racing, particularly if there is a period of shutdown in the future.”

Following is a summary of the new minimum prizemoney levels for Victorian races from 6 April 2020 until otherwise advised:

Metropolitan - Minimum Prizemoney Per Race

Current Minimums

Reduced Minimums

as at 6 April 2020

$160,000

$128,000

$150,000

$120,000

$140,000

$112,000

$135,000

$108,000

$125,000

$100,000

$75,000

$60,000

$60,000

$48,000

$50,000

$40,000


Country - Minimum Prizemoney Per Race

Current Minimums

Reduced Minimums

as at 6 April 2020

$70,000*

$63,000

$45,000*

$40,500

$35,000

$31,500

$23,000

$20,700

$22,000

$20,000


[*Country Cups]